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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Logan driver abducted at gunpoint

By Seili Lewis

April 10, 2009 | After facing the rigors of an interview Thursday afternoon for the position of engineering aide for the city of Logan, Sharee Winterton, 19, was approached by a man in the parking lot of the Logan City Police Department.

"He approached me like he was going to ask me a question then he pulled out a gun," said Winterton. "I told him to take the keys, take everything, but he said no, that I should get in the car and unlock the passenger door."

Obeying his commands, Winterton let the man into the car.

The man directed Winterton to take him to the fairgrounds. She said that when he did not find what he wanted there, he then told her to take him to the Cache Valley Mall.

She said her initial thought was to speed, hoping that she could be pulled over by police and she could get some help. To her dismay, despite her speeding, she said, she wasn't pulled over.

Winterton said she began to ask the man questions to do one of two things. She said she hoped that talking to him might calm him down, and she might find out information that might help the police to identify the man. The man told her about his wife who had died just last month, killed by a drunken driver. He talked about growing up as a military kid, she said, and he'd been all over the country and served an LDS mission.

When they arrived at the mall, the man apologized she said.

"He said, 'I'm really sorry. I've just had a lot of pent-up anger since my wife died.' I just said, 'Please don't hurt me,' and he said he wouldn't hurt me," said Winterton.

"He said, 'I'm sorry to inconvenience you so,' but the initial response in a normal situation would be to say it was no trouble at all but then I thought no, who are you kidding -- this is a problem," said Winterton.

The man exited the car and Winterton took off as fast as she could, she said. After driving around to the front of the mall, she said she phoned 911 and contacted the police.

She described the man as Hispanic, in his mid-20s, and wearing khaki pants and a red hooded sweatshirt. Police searched nearby businesses and the mall but had no immediate success.


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